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Dec 11 2014

CRomnibus

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Over the last three elections, the Democrats have lost their majorities in the House and, now, the Senate. The most likely reason is that they think a “reasonable compromise is the screw the 99% of Americans they’re suppose to represent. Prime example is the last omnibus bill to fund the federal government through September 2015. The bill negotiated by Republicans and Democrats behind closed doors over the last week is a 1600 page travesty that hands a whole mess of goodies to banks and corporations. This has caused a cry of foul by House and Senate Democrats that now endangers the bills passage.

Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars highlighted the worst of the bill from the Washington Post article

One of the most notable changes includes dramatically expanding the amount of money that wealthy political donors could give the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. Top donors would be allowed to give three times the annual cap on national party donations to three additional party committees set up for the purposes of the presidential conventions, building expenses and election recounts. [..]

For the first time, Congress also would allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans. [..]

At domestic agencies, the EPA’s budget would be cut by $60 million, and the IRS would lose $345.6 million. The nation’s tax agency also would be banned from targeting organizations seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideological beliefs. [..]

About those pensions:

   The measure, attached to a massive $1.01 trillion spending bill, would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets. [..]

The idea is reluctantly supported by some unions and retirement fund managers who see it as the only way to salvage pensions in plans that are in imminent danger of running out of money. But it also has stirred strong opposition from retirees who could face deep pension cuts and from advocates eager to keep retiree pensions sacrosanct, even in cases when funds are in a deep financial hole. The advocates argue that allowing cuts to plans would open the door to trims for other retirees later.

Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel, also found this:

the powers that be (largely Barb Mikulski and AlabamaKentucky’s Harold Rogers) stripped out the Massie-Lofgren Amendment that would have prohibited back door searches of Section 702 information and required back doors on software [..]

First, it defunds only the NSA. The original might have defunded anything that involved DOD, including FBI and CIA. [..]

That is, this replaces real legislation, supported by a huge majority in the House, with the same word games NSA has been hiding behind for over 18 months.

But the crowning insult that may very well sink the bill is the clause that essentially guts Dodd-Frank allowing big banks to engage in the same risky trading that toppled the economy in 2008.

en. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday sought to rally opposition to the $1.1 trillion government funding bill, spearheading a revolt on the left that has put her influence in the Democratic Party to the test.

The Massachusetts liberal pleaded for House Democrats to withhold support for a government funding package due to a provision she said would change the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to let “Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money.” [..]

The provision would no longer require that big banks separate trades in financial derivatives from traditional bank accounts, which are backed by the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The derivatives played a key role in the financial collapse.

Critics argue the change would leave taxpayers on the hook if trades explode. Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called it a “stealth attack” on his namesake achievement.

It figures that this part of the bill was written by Citicorp.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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